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As law firms face heavier competition for a shrinking piece of the legal demand pie, many are turning to legal technology tools to differentiate themselves.
The question becomes, then, how to best use this technology to best demonstrate your value to clients above the competition. The answer to that question will certainly be a point of discussion at the upcoming LMA Annual Conference taking place April 9-11, 2018 in New Orleans.
At the LMA conference, the Thomson Reuters business development team is leading a session on the afternoon of April 10 that will highlight the fundamental elements of finding growth in a flat market.
“It’s especially critical now to focus on how best to grow the client relationship and the impact of declining demand,” says Janet Bennett, national manager for Thomson Reuters’ Monitor Suite. “Some firms are reacting positively to these changes, others are not experiencing these trends so drastically, and still others are struggling with what to do.”
The conference will feature additional panel discussions on ways to determine the future of the legal market, how to leverage tools and processes for cross-selling opportunities, and the topic of managing a legal sales culture.
“These panels give lawyers a chance to hear concerns expressed by GCs, and see what thoughts go into the hiring process,” Bennett says, adding that most general counsel are remarkably consistent with what they want from their outside law firms. “GCs want law firms to know them, know their business, and come in as a partner.”
As with everything, however, she says, some firms do this well now, and some firms continue to struggle with the idea. Bennett explains that you can usually tell whether a lawyer “gets it” in a client meeting. “Is he telling everyone about himself and his firm and not asking about the client’s needs? If so, he’s not recognizing the need for a deeper understanding of the client.”
And access to the right research help with this deeper understanding, and it can also be an important determining factor in a client’s hiring decision, Bennett adds. “If you go into a meeting with some prime research to offer the client — perhaps info on competitors, trending industry statistics or any data that brings more value to the meeting — then you are well ahead in differentiating yourself in that client’s eyes.”
Of course, there are many research platforms out there, and law firms need to identify which ones would best meet their needs, and, more importantly, which ones will provide opportunities to meet clients’ needs.
Ask yourself, does this technology:
- Provide in-depth financial data — Some key information should include data on private equity, corporate lending, merger and acquisitions, new business information, and cross-selling activities.
- Provide information in an easily digestible format — Enhanced information and company financial data should be presented in a manner that is easily digested and could be acted upon. Technology that displays the data in a format that saves time (and allows you to better prepare for the next client meeting) is a clear benefit.
- Create a business dashboard — The ability to combine legal information with company information, while filtering data into a highly graphical interface, helps provide a broader perspective of the business. This also allows a firm to identify trends and opportunities early and assess the value versus complexity of those opportunities.
- Shed light on big-picture client financials — Financial practices, private equity investments and mergers and acquisitions activity viewed in combination with litigation and intellectual property insights can provide a holistic view through which attorneys and law firms can better understand their competitors and potential (or existing) clients.
In this era of big data and business intelligence, take the time to make sure your technology is delivering not just data, but also insights you can use to build your practice.
Thomson Reuters Legal Business Development Solutions provides quick access to a wealth of hard-to-find and highly desirable information. For more information, visit our Thomson Reuters Business Development page.
Gregg Wirth is a financial journalist and the content manager of the Legal Executive Institute(LEI) blog. Gregg’s expertise includes wide-ranging corporate research, including but not limited to due diligence, personnel background checks, investment evaluation, and accounting or securities fraud investigation.